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Red Sox interested in outfielder Chris Denorfia

The Red Sox have shown interest in San Diego outfielder Chris Denorfia, who could solve Boston's issue with outfield depth.

Thearon W. Henderson

The Red Sox could be interested in Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

While the Red Sox don't believe they can carry another outfielder, they have expressed some interest in [Chris] Denorfia, a righthanded bat with a little power who can play center field. The Red Sox might be able to swing a move like this if they deal Carp or Daniel Nava somewhere.

Boston's roster, as Cafardo alludes to, is full up at 25 men. And that doesn't include any hangers-on who are easy to see the team cutting or shipping off to the minors before April. That being said, it's not really a complete product, with a noticeable lack of depth at Fenway's more difficult outfield positions in center and right. Jackie Bradley Jr. is set to start in center, and Shane Victorino in right, but Bradley's backup is Victorino, and Victorino's is Daniel Nava, who for all his positives is simply not a viable long-term option in Fenway's right field.

Denorfia, frankly, is kind of a perfect fit, so long as he doesn't balk at playing a more marginal role on a team like the Red Sox. In 144 games last year, Denorfia hit .279/.337/.395 for the Padres. While it doesn't look like much, that grades out to a 108 wRC+ thanks to the pitcher-friendly environment he played in. Even beyond that, he provided a strong glove in all three outfield positions. UZR and DRS disagree on just how reliable he is in center field, but looking at his defensive performances as a whole it seems likely he'd be up to the task.

It doesn't hurt that Denorfia is a right-handed batter, either, making it easier to fit him in with the left-handed Jackie Bradley Jr. In fact, over the course of his career, Denorfia has produced a 134 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers, essentially the same as Jonny Gomes, who the Red Sox acquired last year specifically to platoon with the left-handed Daniel Nava.

As is always the case, of course, it comes down to price. Denorfia is not the first name to come to mind when talking about first-division outfielders, but he actually was worth a shocking 3.9 fWAR and 4.3 rWAR in 2013. Those are career highs by a mile, but it's not something the Padres would give away for nothing. Still, with his contract running out in 2014 and no guarantee that he'll even be worth a qualifying offer should that career year prove a fluke, there's incentive for San Diego to move him if a team like the Red Sox actually values him.

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